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Financial Industry Self-Regulation: Aspiration and Reality

In Financial Industry Self‐Regulation: Aspiration and Reality, Professor Schwarcz responds to Professor Omarova's recent article by applying the framework he has developed to analyze the financial services industry's systemic risk.  Two of the four elements of this model, he argues, inform Professor Omarova's article.  First, Schwarcz writes that Omarova's self‐insurance is a conceptually accurate response to the tragedy of the commons, by forcing the financial services industry to internalize systemic risk rather than leaving it to the government.  However, Omarova's model, he suggests, should be international in scope and not a “blanket substitute” for a public safety net.  Second, Schwarcz argues that Omarova's suggestion of a ban, or threat to ban, certain financial products reflects a concern for the problem of complexity.  While agreeing that complexity of the financial services industry is a serious concern, Schwarcz suggests it might be better addressed through standardizing financial products, and that there are too many unknowns to be certain about the outcome of Omarova's recommendation.  Ultimately, Schwarcz concludes that at the very least Omarova raises important questions, which may have been her primary intention.